Signal Mountain group wants to stay with HCDE - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Signal Mountain group wants to stay with HCDE

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN -

It’s a topic that has stirred a lot of conversation on Signal Mountain: could they break away from Hamilton County schools and form their own district?

Since, February a committee has taken a look at the option and turned to other counties in the state that created their own system. However, not everyone is on board, some concerned residents formed a group to keep things the way they are.

READ MORE | Signal Mountain school viability committee shares findings from Memphis visit

Michael McCamish with ‘Stay with HCDE’ said the need for quality education is one thing both sides agree is important, but how to achieve that has residents on Signal Mountain divided.

"There is an element of segregating the population that is deepening the trench. We can as a collective work better than as an individual entity, Signal Mountain that is,” McCamish explained.

That's just one reason why residents that oppose the split say it’s a move in the wrong direction. Last week, members of a viability committee traveled to Shelby County to see how to break away. There, three districts parted ways from Shelby County Schools in 2013.

On Wednesday, members of the committee presented findings from the visit in West Tennessee.

"They didn't have to go through layers of bureaucracy to problem solve you could make decisions based off of their needs,” Melissa Wood said.

Wood sits on the committee, she explained that each of the new districts that left Shelby County raised taxes to support their local schools. McCamish said the committee didn't get all the facts.

"They were given the red carpet, and they were given what they wanted to hear, that it's a great thing to do. There was no one from Shelby County to share their side of things,” McCamish explained.

In total, the proposed district would include about 2,500 students from Signal Mountain, Walden, and unincorporated parts of the county.

McCamish said their community is bigger than just ‘the mountain,’ they want to see all Hamilton County students succeed.         

"Do we want to see only a part of Hamilton County excelling and see others continuing to struggle?” he asked.

The group said they plan to transcribe audio from the visit to Shelby County and make it available to the public.

The viability committee will take questions and concerns online until July 15th. 

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